All the need-to-know green business news from around the world this week
Analyst: China emissions to peak by 2030
Asia is set to drive the global clean energy transition, with China's emissions expected to peak by 2030 and India set to decouple economic and emissions growth. But a shift from coal to gas in the world's largest emitter and the continued rapid expansion of the renewables industry is unlikely to prove sufficient in driving down global emissions over the next two decades.
That is the central conclusion of a new report this week from Aurora Energy Research on the outlook for global energy-related commodities markets. It paints a picture of a sector facing huge disruption as global coal consumption remains relatively flat and low carbon electricity comes to represent "the key source of energy consumption growth to 2040".
However, echoing repeated warnings from across the energy forecasting community the report concludes that the weakening outlook for coal and rapid advance of renewables is still failing to deliver sustained global emissions cuts.
"Aurora's new report shows that the global commodities landscape is in for a pretty big transition over the coming two decades," said Hiren Mulchandani, Aurora's lead commodities analyst and primary author of the report, citing predictions China is set to see a 20 per cent decrease consumption, the US is poised to become a net oil exporter, and the EU is "on the cusp of seeing merchant subsidy-free renewables coming onto the system in many European countries".
"But despite this rapid transition, we still see global CO2 emissions remaining high and continuing to grow over the next two decades," he added. "A range of environmental policies lead to a peaking of emissions in China by 2030, and a relative decoupling of emissions from economic growth in India - yet this is still far from sufficient to put the world on course to meet the Paris climate targets of limiting global warming to 1.5 or 2 degrees."
Innogy opens first Irish wind farm
European energy company innogy SE officially opened its first wind farm in Ireland this week, cutting the ribbon on the 10.2MW Dromadda Beg is a three wind turbine site in County Kerry in the southwest of the Republic of Ireland. The opening ceremony came in the same week construction was completed on the 32MW Mynydd y Gwair onshore wind farm in Wales. The company added that it plans to soon start operation at the 26MW Bad á Cheo Wind Farm in Scotland.
"I am pleased to officially open Dromadda Beg wind farm - our first project in Ireland," said Hans Bünting, Chief Operating Officer (COO) Renewables at innogy SE. "These three wind turbines are the proof that our decision for the Irish market entrance three years ago was the right one. We plan further long-term investments in this promising wind market, supporting the Irish Government to achieve its climate change and renewable energy targets."
Putin deals fresh blow to climate action
Bloomberg spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin this week and he revealed the Russian government was stepping up efforts to develop fossil fuel resources in the Arctic.
Describing the resources as "collosal deposits of planetary proportions", he dismissed the idea sanctions would block plans to develop in the region and insisted the country would deliver additional Arctic projects "and expand them".
In a brief nod to global efforts to switch to cleaner energy sources, Putin said it was "a question that still needs to be answered" as to whether alternative forms of energy could eat into fossil fuels' global market share.
California sues Trump over watering down of car emissions rules
The seemingly never-ending legal battle over US vehicle emissions standards has erupted once again, as it emerged California is suing the Trump administation over its recent controversial decision to water down fuel effiency rules.
The Hill reported that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has filed a suit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) demanding it release the data and analysis it used to reach last year's decision to dilute national auto emissions standards.
CARB is alleging the federal agencies have failed to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the data. "In a stark departure from prior rulemakings, critical information underlying EPA's and NHTSA's analyses was not disclosed," the filing reads. "As very serious flaws in the agencies' analyses and conclusions are evident - and the resulting proposals threaten public health - CARB submitted FOIA requests to both agencies for documents concerning vehicle fleet composition, new car sales, vehicle safety, battery technology, and other information that NHTSA and EPA used in proposing to roll back vehicle emission and fuel economy standards."
California has been at the forefront of efforts to reduce US vehicle emissions having previously enjoyed a waiver that allowed it to set more ambitious standards. The Obama administration unified standards nationally by setting a series of future goals to cut emissions across the industry. But the Trump administration has now moved to cut those targets as part of its wider deregulatory agenda.
France calls for emission-saving shipping go slow
France has reportedly submitted a proposal to the International Maritime Organisation for ships to be subject to speed limits as part of efforts to curb the industry's carbon emissions.
Industry newswire Splash247.com reported that the French government is seeking a global speed limit as an "excellent transitionary and early measure" as the IMO continues its work on a wider climate action plan.
The submission acknowledges speed limits would not work for all ships carrying time-sensitive cargo, but argues that for many vessels it would lead to significant emissions savings. The submission also calls for a 40 per cent cut in emissions by 2030 and a 70 per cent cut by 2050.
Luxembourg steps up plans to become green bond hub
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has signed a series of agreements with major stock exchanges and institutions in China this week in a bid to "strengthen its appeal as the world's leading green bond trading hub".
The country signed an information exchange agreement with Shanghai Clearing House that connects the Luxembourg Stock Exchange (LuxSE) to the China Interbank Market (CIBM). The move enables investors to easily call up current price data on green bonds traded in Shanghai and Shenzhen, as well as in the CIBM. The additional information makes it easier for international investors to compare prices and should boost trading volumes as this supports more bond issuance," LuxSE said.
The stock exchange also signed an MoU with the Bank of China, which will see the Bank act as intermediary between the European and Chinese markets, providing international investors with simplified access to securities listed in China.
In addition, LuxSE has launched a Green Bond Channel with the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, in a complementary move to its existing arrangement with the Shanghai Stock Exchange. This channel offers core information in English about green bonds currently traded in Shanghai and Shenzhen.
Nicolas Mackel, CEO of Luxembourg for Finance, the development agency for the country's financial sector, said the agreements "further cement our financial centre's attractiveness as a truly global and collaborative marketplace".
"They encourage simplicity and transparency in the green bond market, and they help to underpin the broader emphasis we are putting on developing the country's sustainable finance credentials," he added.
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